320_a2 – Criminal Justice
In this case, the first defense would be that Omar committed the crime in defense of his property. The state of Delaware has specific laws that define how a person should respond to intruders to property. Under the Delaware law, a person is allowed the use of reasonable force in preventing the commission of criminal tampering on property. According to Brody & Acker, criminal tampering is “tampering with the property of another” with the intention of causing injury or annoyance to the owner (Brody & Acker, 2010). In Omar’s case, Avon knowingly went to Omar’s home without invitation with the intent of annoying him. Being political rivals, the kind of reaction that Omar exhibited on seeing Avon is reasonable. Secondly, the Delaware law requires that a person first asks the defendant to leave and if he does not, reasonable force can be used. On seeing Avon, Omar immediately went over to him and asked him to leave. It is only after Avon refused to leave that Omar pulled out his gun as a threat. However, Avon refused to leave and went on to destroy Omar’s treasured mausoleum. This can be seen as an intentional act that was aimed at annoying Omar. The hammer that Omar had in his hand was a threat to Omar’s life and thus he had to use the only weapon in his hand to protect himself. Moreover, Avon had already started destroying Omar’s mausoleum and therefore his reaction was spontaneous and as a result of Avon’s actions. This is a strong defense as all the facts can be proved accordingly. In this view, the first-degree murder charge is inappropriate and the charges should be dropped.
Secondly, the case should be dismissed, as Omar did not have any criminal intent when committing the offense. Evidence shows that Omar is a peace-loving citizen who has no criminal record. Moreover, Omar is a businessman who focuses on community service and enhancing the lives of the people in his society. He is a board member in many civic organizations, which help in protecting the people. It is evident that Omar has never shown any criminal behavior thus is not a threat to the safety of the people. On the day of the fundraiser, Omar organized his home and invited only the people whom he wanted. However, Avon intruded his property by coming to his home without permission. Omar was not the first aggressor and only reacted to Avon’s intrusion. As seen above, Omar peacefully asked Avon to leave his premises, a request, which Avon ignored. This shows that Omar did not intend to kill Avon, as he was a peaceful man. In order to charge a person with first-degree murder, it is imperative that the court proves aforethought and intent to kill (Brody & Acker, 2010). The lack of criminal intent can be clearly seen in this case making this a strong defense. However, it would be a difficult task to prove that Omar’s action was reasonable considering the circumstances.
Considering all the above options, it is also important to note that a first-degree murder charge requires the court to prove beyond doubt that the defendant acted on a pre-meditated thought that resulted in the death of another human being. Under the law, the court must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant acted out of malice and showed no respect for human life (Brody & Acker, 2010). In this case, Omar did not act out of malice as he had deliberately failed to invite Avon to avoid a confrontation like the one that occurred. Avon was the aggressor and Omar only acted in the heat of passion. Avon knew that the mausoleum was precious to Omar and that is why he targeted it for destruction. The first instant where Omar pulled out the gun cannot be termed as pre-meditating murder as he was only trying to threaten Avon to leave the premises. In summary, Omar admits that he shot Avon twice in the chest but the first-degree murder charge is too heavy. Considering the circumstances given above, the charge should be reduced to manslaughter first degree. This defense is likely to succeed since first-degree cases are hard to prove and challenging for the court. On the other hand, it is weak in that by pleading guilty to the killing, Avon would have to face time in jail.
If this case were in Colorado, Omar would have no case to answer as the law allows him to use force of any kind against a person who intrudes his property. As seen in the discussion above, it is evident that Avon intruded Omar’s property with the intent of annoying and destroying property. This is an offense in itself and a person can be charged in a court of law for such an action. The Colorado law recognizes any unlawful entrance into a person’s private dwelling as an offense punishable by law (Brody & Acker, 2010). In Colorado, Omar acted under the jurisdiction of the law since Avon had unlawfully entered his premises. Additionally, Avon committed a crime against Omar’s property when he started destroying the mausoleum. The destruction was an action that Omar aimed to prevent by shooting Avon. In Omar’s eyes, this was a reasonable reaction since he had gone to great extents to build the mausoleum. This defense can be termed as self-defense as Omar was defending his property from harm.
Similarly, it is also important to note that the law gives the owner of a dwelling permission to use force if the person poses any threat to the occupants of the dwelling. In this case, Omar had reason to believe that the Avon posed a threat to the people attending the fundraiser as he had a hammer in his pocket. In addition to the uninvited entry, by carrying a weapon, Avon displayed all signs of an aggressive person. In Colorado, it would be easier to strip Omar off the charges that were put against him. Colorado follows the Castle Doctrine, which allows a person to use force against a person who intrudes his property (Brody & Acker, 2010). In this perspective, the case would be dismissed and Omar found not guilty of any criminal offense. In summary, the most applicable defense in this case is self-defense.
Brody, D. C., & Acker, J. R. (2010). Criminal law. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.